I’m Garmin Home

Okay, it got me here.

What am I talking about?

My Sat Nav, that’s what.

This expensive little device is fit for the bin and not a lot else, you see the mapping is two years out of date.

And because it has a Lithium Ion battery which can be charged around a thousand times before wearing out and it charges each and every time I switch on my car, making several journeys a day has left the battery life somewhat lacking.

All the same, this is a satellite receiver, it finds satellites and it tracks them and it does it perfectly well.

Right now I am standing at fifty two degrees, three minutes and forty three seconds north and zero degrees, forty three minutes and twenty seconds west.

It knows that.

So why if it works perfectly and it is designed to work with my car’s twelve volt system so the failing internal battery is not really a problem, can I not simply update the mapping and carry on using it.

Well, that’s the problem, I can!

I plugged it into my computer.

You need an update it said.

“I know that” I shouted back at the screen.

I updated the software.

Most of the time I update software because Microsoft send me a message saying if you do not update your software, hackers will sneak into your email and fill your computer with links to absurdly unrealistic pornography and then your partner will check her email and see…

Oh, never mind.

I don’t think I need to worry about a firewall with my GPS, though I did see a car on fire in the high street yesterday so I did wonder.

Legal Warning – do not operate this device while driving – agree.

Destination.

Nanny’s house.

Bang.

Eek, my car is on fire.

Or something like that.

Anyway, back home, the Internet and my software update.

“Would you like a new map?”

And…

“Click here to add to basket”

Great!

Checkout.

Eighty nine dollars and ninety nine cents.

What?

Are they mental?

Exchange rate dot com.

Fifty Seven Pounds and seventy nine pence, though I doubt my credit card company will give me anything like such a good rate.

Currently I can pick up a brand new RAC branded Sat Nav from Halfords for thirty nine pounds and ninety nine pence

Ah but it isn’t a Garmin I hear you say and you can’t upgrade it when the mapping is out of date.

Okay

So I looked on eBay.

I can buy the latest equivalent of this model, the Garmin Nuvi 1200, NEW, for sixty three pounds and ninety five pence which includes postage from Newton Abbot in Devon.

Assuming for a moment the new maps really represent fifty seven pounds and seventy nine pence of the value and accounting for the three pounds and ninety five pence postage, the unit cost of the GPS, in car charger, USB lead and lithium ion battery that fails after two years and needs a bomb disposal unit to take care of if you put it in the bin and all the packaging, printed manuals, stickers and paraphernalia is two pounds and twenty one pence.

It’s hard to see how they could ever produce this unit for such a price, the research and development, the testing, the marketing and so on.

Garmin are just another corporate monster devouring planetary resources and pushing the increasingly bewildered consumer to buy more stuff.

And the real resource being profiteered from, the hidden cost, is to the environment and the lives of the people in the third world countries we exploit to make this stuff.

The real horror story is that we are going to run out of resources and we are all going to die horribly suffocated by our own greed.

So do I bin it and buy another one, or do I reuse.

It’s a very hard choice.

I wrote to Garmin and asked them for a FREE map…

Dear Mark Ty-Wharton,

Thank you for contacting Garmin Europe.

I am happy to help you. Unfortunately our devices only come with free map updates within 90 days of the new device acquiring the first satellite fix. After the 90 days if you have not taken advantage of the guarantee you will no longer be entitled to it and you will need to purchase an update.

Blah Blah Blah

Emma Switzer

I replied…

I think you are clearly missing the point Emma.

I have been a Garmin customer for at least ten years, have bought several products and have always been happy with them.

But, why on earth would I spend more money upgrading a map on a device when I can buy a brand new complete Sat Nav system for less money?

Am I to assume the unit is worthless, always was worthless and I am simply paying for the up to date information.

If the map was reasonably priced I might buy it to save another piece
of plastic from going in landfill…

Dear Mark Ty-Wharton,

Thank you for contacting Garmin Europe.

I am happy to help you; the cost of our mapping is based on how much we are charged by the mapping company. Garmin® does not compile the map data; we pay royalties on this data and therefore only license it, we do not own it. The routable data is provided by the company NAVTEQ, a respected map data vendor, often regarded as the best in the business.

Blah Blah Blah

Emma Switzer

I asked for Navteq’s details so that I could ask them for a free map.

Garmin sent them.

I responded thanking them and suggested they watch a film called “The Story Of Stuff” on YouTube.

Dear Mark Ty-Wharton,

Thank you for contacting Garmin Europe.

I am happy to help you; the cost of our mapping is based on how much we are charged by the mapping company.

Garmin® does not compile the map data; we pay royalties on this data and therefore only license it, we do not own it. The routable data is provided by the company NAVTEQ, a respected map data vendor, often regarded as the best in the business.

You have to understand that the maps are constantly changing, and the mapping is continuously being updated.

The cheaper option in the long run is to purchase the Lifetime maps.

You would have to pay the one-off cost of £74.99, but this would provide you with every update that we release for the Life of your device.

Blah Blah Blah

Kerrie Carrott

The life of my device?

The life of my device, what does that mean, I am not sure I could open this to replace the battery it seems to be sealed, so is it dead now?

Or will they leave it behind in a software update.

Oh sorry, the new version of the operating system no longer supports that processor.

Dear Kerrie Carrott

Do you actually understand my point, because it seems to me you have just cut and pasted Emma’s original email, or you have this complaint a lot and already have a cleverly worded template for it?

I initially paid seventy nine pounds and ninety nine pence for my Sat Nav and I am led to understand I can buy the map without lifetime mapping for sixty four pounds and ninety nine pence.

And that lifetime mapping costs seventy four pounds and ninety nine pence.

I would therefore like to upgrade my existing map from non-lifetime mapping to life-time mapping for ten pounds.

I am forty eight and if I look after this unit carefully it should last at least as long as I do.

Can you please arrange this and invoice me accordingly.

Kind regards…

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